Red Cross assisting homeless residents displaced after shelter fire

A charred truck owned by the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission was lost in a fire that broke out early Saturday in North Hollywood.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The American Red Cross on Sunday was assisting residents of a North Hollywood homeless shelter that was destroyed when an adjacent pallet company caught fire, officials said.

A Red Cross shelter was opened at the Branford Recreation Center in Pacoima to house 28 residents displaced when the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission was engulfed in flames early Saturday morning.

The residents fled in their pajamas, leaving behind shoes, socks, undergarments and other possessions, said Stacy Miller, a spokeswoman for the mission.

The 30-bed shelter was destroyed, as were a fleet of trucks and vans and a warehouse with a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of donated items destined for the mission’s three thrift shops, Miller said.

“Half of our income comes from the thrift stores, so the fact that we lost so much is devastating,” Miller said.


The mission is working to find more permanent shelter for displaced residents, 16 of whom are children, said Miller.

The mission is in the process of building a new family shelter in Northridge that is scheduled to open in December and will accommodate 90 residents. It also operates an emergency food program that was disrupted by the fire.

The blaze erupted around 12:25 a.m. Saturday at Okote Pallets Inc., in the 13000 block of Saticoy Street.

The fire spread from a corrugated metal building in the yard to the nearby shelter. About 137 firefighters fought the blaze for 90 minutes before it was extinguished. One firefighter suffered injuries and was taken to a hospital in fair condition.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Meanwhile the rescue mission’s Sun Valley thrift store at 9007 Lankershim Blvd. was open Sunday, accepting donations of clothing and undergarments for children and adults, shoes and hygienic products.

Donations are also being accepted on the mission’s website.